Richard Philip King

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Richard Philip King

Also Known As: "Dick King", "Dick"
Birthplace: (near Dursley), Gloucestershire, England UK
Death: Died in Isipingo, Natal, South Africa
Cause of death: Smallpox
Place of Burial: Isipingo, Natal, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of Philip Richard King, SV/PROG and Anna Maria King, SM/PROG
Husband of Clara Jane King
Father of Maria Recordanzo King; Richard Phillip King; Clara Elvira; Frank King; Richard Francis King and 3 others
Brother of Andrew King; Elizabeth Lutman; John King; Lois PRIDDLE; Rhoda Wade (King) and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Richard Philip King

1820 British Settler

Philip King 30, together with his wife Anna Maria Silverstone 30, and their 3 children, were members of Samuel Bradshaw's Party of 64 emigrants on the Settler Ship Kennersley Castle.

Party originated from Gloucestershire.

Departed Bristol, 10 January 1820. Arrived Simon's Bay, Cape Town - 29 March 1820. Final Port - Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth 29 April 1820.

Area Allocated to the Party : Lemon Valley on the Torrens River - New Gloucester

Children :

  • Richard Philip King 8
  • Andrew King 5
  • Elizabeth King
  • John King


Richard was 8 years old according to M D Nash in The Settlers Handbook. That would put his birth at approximately 1811 since the lists of Settlers were compiled prior to the ships leaving at the beginning of 1820. However, other references state 1813. He went to live in Natal at the age of 15.

The Natal Mercury [no date] thus refers to the death of Mr R King, brother to Mr Andrew King of this city: "We regret very much to have to report the death....of one of the pioneers in civilization in Natal, Mr Richard King. This melancholy event occurred yesterday morning at Mr King's residence at the Isipingo...In the earliest days of European settlement here [in Natal] he took an active part, but the fact which will forever link his name with the history of this Colony, is his ride from Durban to Grahamstown...."

Dick King


Dick King was seven when he arrived in the hot dry land of South Africa with his parents and the other 1820 Settlers. The family settled near Bathurst. At the age of fifteen, eager for adventure, Dick King ran away to Port Natal (the original name of Durban) which was at that time only a small trading post. Here he traded with the Zulus, learnt their language, and hunted elephant. When the first exploring group of Voortrekkers arrived, led by Piet Uys, it was King who rode to talk with Dingaan and returned with Dingaans promise of land.

Working as a wagon-driver in Natal for the missionary Allen Gardiner, and later for the Reverend Francis Owen, King became familiar with the tracks, hills, rivers and peoples of the area, a knowledge which was to prove invaluable. It was a rugged dangerous land, and already the English settlers were nervous of the Zulus. They started to build a fort, and Alexander Biggar organised the Port Natal Volunteers, in which regiment King was a lieutenant. When in 1835 the settlers planned to establish their first town, to be called D'Urban (after the Governor of the Cape), King could not promise any money, for he was not a rich man. Instead he gave a weeks work.

War with the Zulus

In February 1838 came the chilling news of the murder of Piet Retief and his party in Dingaans kraal. Dick King felt that the other Boers camping by the Bloukrans River must be warned. He set out on foot from Port Natal, covering almost two hundred kilometres in four days and nights. But he was too late. The Zulu impis had struck in a night attack and hundreds of unsuspecting trekkers had been stabbed to death.

Eventually Dingaans power was broken by the Boers at Blood River, on 16 December 1838, and on the same day, Major Charters hoisted the British flag at Port Natal. A year later, however, the British left, and the Boers set up the new Republic of Natalia. King, at heart a British patriot, was glad when the British Government decided to annex Natal in 1842, and Captain Thomas Smith was sent with troops to occupy the port.

British besieged at Port Natal, 1842

In response to the invasion, Andries Pretorius encamped his Boer force at Congella and determined to resist. Captain Smith tried a night attack, but bungled it so badly, and so noisily, that it was the watchful Boers who surprised and overcame him instead. Thereupon the British troops took refuge in the fort and a siege began. It was clear they could not hold out longer than about a month. George Cato, the Mayor of Port Natal, therefore asked Dick King to ride to Grahamstown for help. King agreed and was given a fine bay horse called Somerset to ride. Once a British officers horse, it had been used by Pretorius at Blood River. Now it had been stolen and returned to the British. Accompanying King, on a grey horse, was his sixteen-year-old Zulu servant, Ndongeni.

The long ride to Grahamstown

On the night of 25 May 1842, the Cato brothers helped King and Ndongeni across Durban Bay in a rowing boat with the horses swimming behind. Arriving at last on the other side, they persuaded a coloured woman to wipe out their hoof-prints by dragging branches across them, and they started to ride. For the first hundred and sixty kilometres King dared only travel at night. In the course of their journey they swam what seemed the best part of two hundred rivers, facing the double risk of attack from crocodiles and being swept away by the strong currents. In the forests there was the danger of lions. At Buntingville, a mission station in Pondoland, Ndongeni could go no further. Riding without stirrups, his legs were raw and bleeding. Sadly, King bade him farewell and continued his nightmare ride. In the village of Butterworth he rested for a few hours, and then forced himself to go on. Eighty kilometres from Grahamstown he collapsed and fell from his horse in a fever and lay for two days too ill to move. At length he recovered sufficiently to continue, and his faithful Somerset carried him, worn-out, dust-caked, into Grahamstown. He had covered nine hundred and sixty kilometres in ten days - a journey usually taking seventeen days.

King went straight to Colonel Hare without stopping to eat or rest. Gasping "My horse . . . look after Somerset!" he collapsed while Hare was reading the sweat-stained despatch. But the gallant Somerset was already dead from exhaustion. British honour was now at stake. For the first time, the Boers had dared oppose British military power. Troops were sent at once by sea to relieve Durban, and exactly one month after Dick King had started that desperate ride, he re-entered Durban Bay aboard the Conch. The Boers withdrew, and the British garrison, more troubled by hunger than by war, greeted the relief force thankfully. That morning Captain Smiths breakfast had been one dead crow.

Family life as a farmer

The grateful British gave Dick King a sugar farm at Isipingo, where Ndongeni rejoined him. Aged forty-one, King married Clara Noon, niece of another British settler, and they had seven children. The statue that now stands on the Marine Parade, Durban, is a fitting tribute to the modest man who insisted, "I only did what any other man would do for his country".

Richard Philip King

Born in Gloucestershire, England - 26 November 1811

Arrived in Algoa Bay aboard Kennersley Castle - May 1820

Wagon-driver for Captain Allen Gardiner in Natal - 1828

Walked from Port Natal to Bloukrans River to warn the Boers of Zulu treachery - February 1838

Started his ride to Grahamstown - 25 May 1842

Arrived back at Port Natal with the relief force - 26 June 1842

Married Clara Jane Noon - 1852

Set up a sugarmill near Isipingo Beach - 1859

Died at Isipingo, Natal - 10 November 1871

Books to read:

"Dick King, Saviour of Natal" by C.J. Eyre is the fullest account of Kings story.

A good summary is in "Footprints in Time - Natal" by I.L. Perrett (McGraw-Hill).

The story of the ride is also in "Bravery in South Africa" by Kay Schroeder (Nasou).

"South Africa Our Land Our People" by Fay Jaff (Timmins).

"This Africa of Ours" by Michael McNeile (McAlan).

"Heroes of South Africa" by Ken Anderson (Donker).

An exciting childrens novel on the life of the settlers near Grahamstown is "Strangers in the Land" by Jenny Seed (Hamis H Hamilton).

Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa vol. 6, p. 396.

Dictionary of South African Biography vol. II, p. 364.


Information taken from DICK KING: SAVIOUR OF NATAL An Historical record by CYRIL J EYRE. First published in 1932

On Saturday, IIth November, 1871, at 4.30 p.m., the remains of Dick King were interred in the Isipingo cemetery. The late Venerable Archdeacon Lloyd, the Colonial Chaplain, conducted the burial service. It is stated that about seventy Europeans and a considerable number of natives attended at the graveside.

He left a wife and seven children, three boys and four girls, to mourn his loss.

Miss Maria Recordonza King, born 19th February, 1856, was married to Thomas A. Rance, Esq. They lived in Dorset, England Two children, son and daughter. The son passed away some years ago.

Richard Philip Henry King, Esq., born 22nd October, 1858, was married to Miss F. S. King, of London, on 16th August, 1894. Three daughters. Is a J.P. and one of the early pioneers of the Rand (1886), being the original representative of the Beckett Syndicate. Was Vice-President of the Rand Pioneers in the Transvaal, and a foundation member of the Stock Exchange. He resided at Manderston, Natal.

Miss Clara Elvira King, born 13th November, 1861, was married to Dr. Richmond Allan at Durban on 21st June, 1882. One daughter. Mrs Allan passed away on the 3rd November, 1925, in her sixty-fourth year, and was interred beside her father in the Isipingo cemetery. Dr. Allan was practising for some time in Pietermaritzburg and England. He resided at Pinetown.

Francis Richard King, Esq., born March, 1863, was married to Miss H. Lyle, of Devonshire, England. Was a farmer for many years at Ixopo. He resided at "King's Rest," Isipingo Beach.

Miss Georgina Adelaide King, born about 1865, was married to E. Y. Peel, Esq., of Ixopo, Natal. Three daughters.

Miss Catherine Agnes King, born about 1867, was married to R. H. Tatham, Esq., of Johannesburg. Two sons.

Charles Richard King, Esq., born 7th July, 1870, married Miss Florence S. Stiebel, of Durban. Eight sons and one daughter. Farmer at Vaal- bank, near Kinross, Transvaal. Mr. King passed away on 3rd July, 1930.

Mrs Richard "Dick" Philip King, surviving her late husband, afterwards married Mr J H Russel, who was Secretary and General Manger of Railways in Natal. He and Mrs Russel retired to Exmouth, England where she passed away on 2rd December 1908 and Mr Russel passed away on 24th September 1913.


Descendants of Elisha KING by Bill ROBERTSON & Associate researchers.

This is the Dick KING who rode from Durban to Grahamstown.



Page 8


1. Joseph KING Senior

2. Joseph KING Junior

3. Henry KING

4. Philip KING

Page 11

So it was when the "Kennersley Castle", under Captain Pinkney sailed out of Bristol in December 1819, among the 64 in Samuel BRADSHAW's party were no fewer than 22 named "KING", from Cam in Gloucestershire. There was the eldest brother Joseph, his second wife Ann WATTS and his 4 children; Henry, his wife Hannah PASSER [This is an error-his second wife was Sarah SMITH with whom he left for South Africa] with 4 children; and Philip with his wife Anna Maria SILVERSTONE and their 4 children, of whom "Dick" was the eldest, but Philip and Anna Maria subsequently had 4 other children born in the East Cape.

Page 12

The "Kennersley Castle" was among the first five to arrive in Algoa Bay, in April 1820.

Page 17

The Bradshaw Party located near The Round Hill, some 6 miles or so to the North East of Bathurst.

Page 19

Settler children had to learn herding of cattle, using a gun, riding a horse, driving to Grahamstown over unmade tracks. Dick also became a fluent Xhosa speaker, and an accomplished wagon driver.

Page 26

Dick, now about 17 years of age, was working for a Mr. GILL, but felt most unhappy there, so he decided to venture into the unknown.

His mother had just died, and he set out leaving behind his father, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins, most of whom were in the district for many years to come, before moving further afield.

Page 33

It is not quite clear just how and when Dick went off to Natal.

We know that they [Dick] also rested at FYNN's kraal near Durban for a considerable time. Dick and Henry F. FYNN became and remained close friends until FYNN's death in 1861. He was with him when he died, and was a pall bearer at his funeral.

Page 34

On occasion large remnants of the Zulu tribes would flee, down to the Port seeking protection. Such as these would attach themselves to White Settlers, and develop a strong allegiance. Dick KING was no exception here.

Page 35

In 1830, James COLLIS followed by three, CAWOODS, HAYHURST and UPTON joined them at the Settlement.

In 1834, the farmers of Graaff-Reinet, Uitenhage and Grahamstown, sent an expidition, under Petrus Lafras UYS to visit Port Natal.

Dick drove this party up to Dingaan's Kraal, as they were hoping to get grants of land. After surveying the countryside, some returned with him to the Cape.

On 23rd June 1835, a meeting was held in one of Mr. BERKIN's huts, by Capt. Allen GARDINER, who had arrived in Natal, and it was decided to form a town named after the Governor of the Cape, Sir Benjamin D'URBAN.

Page 36

Dick KING, who attended the meeting offered 'one week's work'. A petition, of which Dick KING was a signatory, addressed to Sir Benjamin D'URBAN by Capt. GARDINER, requested the British Government recognise the "Colony of Victoria". [It was turned down]

In July 1835, Capt. GARDINER and Dick KING driving his wagon, had to abandon a trip to the Cape due to the 6th Kaffir war. They set out in September, via the Drakensberg Range. At the Umzimkulu tributory, near Underberg, Dick had to cut a passage in both banks of the river, so Gardiner named it "King's Ford".

Some weeks later, Dick was badly kicked by an ox and limped for ages on their 4 months struggle on to Grahamstown. GARDINER then returned to England.

Dick took his wagon back to Natal for him[ GARDINER], and went to live at Isipingo probably in 1837. Dick lived there at first, and alternatively in Durban, until he died at Isipingo in 1871.

Page 37

Dick did transport riding and big game hunting in the next few years. During this time he was attacked by a lion, managed to fight it off and save his life, but was badly mauled, and scarred about the face, and as a result, wore a full beard the rest of his life.

Dingaan also called on the White Settlers to recover cattle which the Swazis had stolen from him. John CANE, and 30 men, including Dick, recovered the cattle and were rewarded with a few head of cattle each.

In March 1837, Dick is in Port Elizabeth. He met Dr. GARDINER, accompanied by the Rev. Francis OWEN, whom Dick drove up to Natal, and on to the Kraal of Dingaan.

In this year the Port Natal Volunteers was formed. Robert BIGGAR appointed Dick KING a Lieut., and later he was made Captain of the Isipingo Rifle Corps.

When the small expedition of Boers arrived in 1837, Dick was among the signatories who offered them best wishes.

Page 41

At age 27, in 1838, after the massacre of Piet RETIEF, when news reached the Settlers of the Zulu's intention to attack the Boers at their camps, Dick KING set out on foot, taking a few natives with him, and walked some 120 miles, for 4 days and nights, up the Umlaas Valley to the Blaaukrantz and Tugela, near the junction of the Bushman's River [to warn the Boers of the impending Zulu attack.]

He was too late at the first camp, Weenen, but pressed on a further 10 miles, being almost speared by two Zulus on the way, and just managed to get into the main laager of Gerrit MARITZ before the Zulus could cut him off.

Page 42

Dick fought with them[MARITZ], assisting the Boers to repel the Zulu attack.

March 1838, John CANE and Robert BIGGAR got a large commando together, including Dick KING, and crossed the Tugela, [to fight the Zulu] but were routed.

Another [ataack on the Zulu] ended disastrously on 17th April 1838. Dick KING was one of only four Englishmen who survived the Battle of Ndondakusuku (Tugela Gorge).

Back at the Port, they took refuge in the [ship] "Comet".

Page 43

In 1842, Dick sent off two declarations following a build up of friction between the Boers and British.

Page 44

When the Volksraad started selling off sites, they prohibited Dick KING, TOOHEY and OGLE from buying any. It seems that they reckoned somehow that Dick KING, and others had had a hand in an intended take-over, as a little later in 1839, we find Dick KING, TOOHEY, OGLE, David STELLER, C. ADAMS, Robert JOYCE all summoned to Pietermaritzburg, to appear before the Volksraad.

Page 45

On 23rd May, 1842, Capt. SMITH marched against the Boer Forces in Durban. According to the despatch subsequently sent with Dick to Col. HARE at Grahamstown - 15 killed; 34 wounded and 3 missing.

Page 53

As soon as it became known that help was needed, [Capt. SMITH was under siege in the Fort] Dick KING volunteered to ride to Grahamstown with Capt. SMITH's despatches requesting relief from Col. HARE.

He was 31 years old, he knew something of the way, was strong, fearless, adventuresome, knew several native languages, could ride well, was imbued with a keen sense of loyalty and duty.

With the despatches safely in his care, Dick saddled and mounted the white horse and set off stealthily for Grahamstown with Ndongeni.

Page 56

We know Dick lived in Port Natal in 1835.

Dick went to meet the British Troops whom they met up with at Umzimkulu, after they had left Umgazi in Pondoland. Dick showed them the way, and helped extricate many a wagon bogged down in drifts.

Page 60

On the night of 25th MAY 1842 Dick set off on the ride to Grahamstown.

Page 62

We hear he was delayed 2 days with a heavy fever.

Page 65

He arrived in Grahamstown on 4th JUNE 1842 after travelling 600 miles in 10 days. He delivered the dispatches to Lieut./Col. HARE, the Lieut. Governor of the Frontier, at his offices which were on the corner of Somerset and High Streets, diagonally across from the Drostdy Gate of the military Barracks.

Page 66

When Captain William BELL sailed with this [Conch] relief ship for Durban-Dick KING was with them!

The "Southampton" arrived off Durban one day after the "Conch", on 24th JUNE 1842.

Page 68

The "Conch" towed her [The Southampton] boats in filled with relief troops, including Dick, and landed on 26th JUNE 1842.

Capt. SMITH made mention to Sir George NAPIER, K. C. P., in AUGUST of the daring feat of Mr. KING.

The Government rewarded Dick with £15, and the people at the Port Natal settlement raised a

Page 69

further £70 by subscription.The grant of 5816 acres of land at Isipingo in 1848 was by virtue of his right of occupation. He had occupied and farmed at Isipingo since 1837, and acquired a strip of land and ran a successful butchery business in 1850 at the corner of WEST and KING Streets, Durban. He had a farm at Ifafa, and property at Ixopo, a portion which he bequeathed to one "Dingaan" King.

During the years between the ride and when he was married, he continued with his favourite adventure - big-game hunting, probably right until he went into the butchery business, which he sold in 1857.

Page 71

In 1849, the BYRNE Setlers came to Natal, and a girl [Miss Clara NOON] with her Uncle Mr. X. BREEDE.

Dick met Miss. Clara NOON, seventeen, and fell in love. We are told Clara found Dick's beautiful, striking blue eyes irresistable.

According to Mrs. FIELDEN in "My African Home" Clara was a good looking girl of seventeen, dressed in white muslin[at her wdding], as were most of the ladies. The wedding breakfast, which was ample, was held under an awning in the garden. The only carriage in the place was hired for the day, and after taking the bridal party to and from St. Paul's, was sent around the town to bring the guests. It was a light, covered van and the white curtains on this occasion were tied with pink ribbons.

In JUNE 1855, when on their way to "Feniscowles" (afterwards named Stellawood) - the FIELDENs' home, Dick who had broken his collar bone the previous day, could get no further than Congella. He sent a note ahead, and Mr. FIELDEN rode out and putting Dick on his horse, walked beside him, and they reached home, but after dinner Layland FIELDEN realised Dick's urgent need, so rode off to Durban and fetched Dr. BEST for him.

Page 72

Dick became one of the pioneers of the sugar industry in the 1850's, joining forces with Michael JEFFELS. By 1856 he had the first imported steam mill erected at the back of his house.

[p. 73

There was one at Isipingo [sugar plantations] with the first proper sugar plant [mill].

Source: Dear Louisa]

In 1860, 6000 Indians were indentured for 5 years from Madras to work the [sugar] plantations [for the sugar farmers in the settlement].

Page 73

Dick met Rev. SCOTT at the Tugela in 1854.

Dick's farm stretched from the Umlaas River to the Umbogintwini River, and about 6 miles inland. It was in these rivers that Dick taught all his children to swim.

Page 74

Dick KING helped with the building [first Anglican Church in 1856], was a foundation member, chief parishioner, and so all his family worshipped there too.

The first school was erected at Isipingo and the KING children, PLATT, JOYNER, BAILEY and QUESTED were taught by Welsh couple Mr. & Mrs. PUGH.

Page 77

Before long a defence force was planned by Mr. NOON. Mr. BIGGAR appointed Dick a Lieut. in the Isipingo Rifle Corps, later Isipingo Mounted Rifles, and within a month he was Captain in command of the regiment.

In 1868, only three years before his death, when he was 57 years of age, he was still carrying out deeds of succour.

When floods near Reunion marooned the BABABS, SMART and other families on Wentworth Hill, he built a raft which he paddled across the water, carrying provisions to them.

Page 78 & 79

He put part of the Isipingo Estate, the Reunion Plantation, up for Public Sale, without reserve, on 18th MARCH 1868, by Robert ACUTT & Son.

Page 81

Dick had cut up and sold off parts of his estate and by 1868 decided to go up to the diamond diggings at Kimberley and put his Isipingo property on auction.

Not long after, having finalised arrangements, got most things packed, and all the wagons in good shape to go, he became ill. He recovered to some extent, took ill again, and died, in his own home at Isipingo, of dropsy, on 10th NOV 1871. His sister, Elizabeth (Mrs. GREENE) and daughter-in-law, Mrs. LUTMAN were also present at his bedside. He was buried in the Isipingo Cemetery, by the Venerable Archdeacon LLOYD who had performed his marriage ceremony 20 years before.

His sister Elizabeth's son, Andrew LUTMAN, built the memorial for him on behalf of the family.

Page 87

The idea of a statue was discussed in 1905 and it was unveiled on 14th AUG 1915 by Mayor Mr. J. H. NICOLSON, standing at the foot of GARDINER Street.

Page 93

Places that commemorate Dick KING are KINGSMEAD sports ground; KINGSWAY trunk road to the South; KINGSWAY High School at Amanzimtoti; KINGSBURGH Council; KING's FORD on the Tugela; Dick KING Lodge; KING's Hotel; KING's Jetty, all in Natal. Dick KING Street in Port Elizabeth. A ceramic plaque at the corner of SMITH and GARDINER streets, and WEST and KING Streets.

Page 99

10 Granite pylons were erected in 1947 to mark the route Dick had taken.

Page 100

A tablet was placed on one of the pillars of the 1820 Memorial Settler's Tower of the Grahamstown City Hall.

In 1948, members of the Royal Family paid honour to Dick's memory while on a visit to Durban.


The Cradle Days of Natal by Graham MACKEURTAN

Page 169

G. C. CATO, Richard KING, and Mr. BENINGFIELD were among his pall-bearers [of Henry Francis FYNN],


Other 1820 settlers who had by this time [1835] drifted to the Port were, ...; the famous Richard KING, of BAILLIE's party on the Chapman,


The squares and streets were named, and it was a simple matter that afternoon to walk-on paper-down "William" or "Adelaide" Street into "Farewell" Square, and out again by way of "King" or "Wellington" Street, ...Richard KING, J. MOUNCEY, J. FRANCIS, and R. WOOD gave one week's work.


R. KING signed a petition addressed to the Governor of the Cape, they besought His Majesty to recognize Natal as an infant colony under the name of "Victoria",


Almost immediately after this GARDINER dashed off to the Cape, and, after many difficulties due to Kaffir wars, reached Grahamstown. OGLE went with him, and Richard KING was in charge of the wagons.,


On the 6th of MAY [1837] [Commandant Alexander ] BIGGAR attached as lieutenant R. KING to the company,


KING signed an address on 23rd of OCT 1837 which was presented to RETIEF and MARITZ,


Richard KING survived a trap by the Njandune Regiment of DINGANA's army,


Richard KING was, of course, the hero of 1842. He had driven GARDINER's and OWEN's wagons, and was the bearer to Port Natal from Dingana's kraal of the famous tusk which had given so much trouble to OWEN. He was at one of the Dutch camps attacked by DINGANA's armies in FEB 1838, but had survived. He came to be there in this way. As soon as the American missionaries heard of RETIEF's death, they sent a message post haste to the Port. KING immediately set out, on foot, with some natives, travelling day and night, in an effort to reach and warn the Boer encampments. BIGGAR sent him mainly to warn his son. He was just too late; the first camp he reached had been attacked, and he went on to another. As he entered it the Zulu armies came up, and he was all but cutt off. There he took part in the defence.,


He was destined in 1842 to save the British Forces in Natal, and according to OWEN he showed "several signs of a humble and serious mind, just opening to instruction." He certainly bore a charmed life.,


and there were old David STELLER and Dick KING who took one hunting [1838-1839] over the Umgeni River, on wild slopes where huge mambas and wild boars menaced one from the thickets, buffaloes crashed and blundered past, and elephants tore through the bush, screaming, so close that one threw away one's gun in terror and fled for one's life.,


In AUG 1840 he [DELEGORGUE] travelled to the Tugela. Doctor POORTMAN of Pietermaritzburg (a Hollander) accompanied him part of the way. On his journey he met David STELLER, Richard KING, DOUGLAS and PARKINS hunting elephant and hippopotamus. Later on he travelled into Zululand, and passed Aldin GROUT's mission station near Empangeni. The hunter's were still in his company. KING's oxen trespassed among the missionary's corn, and the latter, thinking they belonged to DELEGORGUE, addressed him rather a querolous letter.,


DELEGORGUE collapsed in uncontrollable mirth, and so did KING, DOUGLAS, and STELLER, the other eye-witnesses of this dark and monumental mannequin parade [of MPANDE's three massive sisters],


The purchasers included both emigrants and British, but TOOHEY, OGLE, and KING were prohibited from buying [sites in the town of Durban in JUN 1840] by special resolution of the Volksraad.,


The British found themselves at once besieged. They managed, however, on the night of the 25th [MAY 1842], to dispatch Richard KING on his famous ride to Grahamstown in order to obtain reinforcements. KING's feat has been repeatedly described, and ,


is celebrated by a statue overlooking the bay across which he was ferried to commence his journey. The Boers, having got wind of his departure, made straight for his home at Isipingo, some ten miles south of Durban, thinking he was bound to call there on his way. They were too late, but in any event, KING, suspecting some such manoeuvre, kept along the sea-beach and gave his home a wide berth. He is said to have escaped some Boers at the Umkomaas. He was also attacked by NCAPAYI's tribe below the Umzimkulu. They took him for a Boer. Knowing the language he was fortunately able to persuade them that he was not. Riding alone at breakneck speed, swimming the rivers, and pausing only to change horses at the missionary establishments along the way, he covered the six hundred miles to Grahamstown in ten days. On two of these he was too ill to travel. This journey was an outstanding feat of physical endurance and courage. He was accompanied on the first part of it by his native servant Ndongeni, who rode bareback. Ndongeni suffered dreadfully from chafing, and also became alarmed when he neared the Amaxosa. He was a long way from home, and this was a strange tribe to him. He therefore returned to the Port, with KING's consent. Had KING not succeeded, Captain SMITH would have been forced to capitulate. As it was, the reinforcements, sent as a result of the ride, were just in time. The Government rewarded his efforts with the princely sum of fifteen pounds. The inhabitants of the Port subscribed another seventy. Ndongeni was still alive in 1911, residing rent free on Crown lands on the south coast of Natal. He was interviewed, in 1905, and declared that his only need in life was a gun, "so that I may shoot the baboons, which destroy my crops." KING settled down later in Durban, and afterwards at Isipingo, where he died on the 10th of NOV 1871.,


PARKINS and DOUGLAS were ivory traders who often travelled with Richard KING and David STELLER, the prince of hippo-hunters. DOUGLAS was a sailor on the Mazeppa in 1839, and Assistant Harbour Master under the Emigrants in 1841,


He [CATO] had also volunteered to ride to Grahamstown for relief, but as Captain SMITH would not allow him to go, Richard KING went instead. CATO and his brother Jospeh woke KING at midnight on board the Mazeppa and rowed him across the bay, towing two horses, to start him on his ride, along with the faithful NDONGENI.,


It was not enough that KING had ridden south; he might well have perished on the way. This episode [CATO sailed the Mazeppa out of the Port on 10 JUN 1842 to Delagoa Bay for help] has so long been overshadowed by "Dick KING's ride" that it is well-nigh forgotten.,


As soon as KING arrived [in Grahamstown] they acted on their own responsibility, while the grave news went on to Capetown, to end in the dispatch of the Southampton from that port. Richard KING was also on board [the Conch]. The Conch arrived at Port Natal before the Southampton, and on the 25th of JUN [1842] was boarded by the unsuspecting Harbour Master of the Republic, the Englishman MOREWOOD.


Pioneers of Natal and south-eastern Africa 1552-1878 by Edward C. TABLER

KING, RICHARD PHILIP (1813-1871) Wagon driver, hunter, trader, settler, farmer. See DSAB. He was born at Chatham, England, on 28 NOV 1813, the son of Philip KING, an 1820 Settler of BRADSHAW's party, ship Kennersley Castle. It is said that he went to Natal as early as 1828, but I can find no record of his presence there before 1833.

In JUN 1833 a Zulu impi returning from a raid on NCAPHAYI killed some members of a Hottentot hunting party at the Umzimkulu River. When the news reached Port Natal, the settlers assumed that an attack on them was planned, and when a detachment of the Zulus passed near the Bay some of the Whites and their Africans attacked it. The warriors scattered, rejoined their main body, and went home, where DINGANE ordered his people to withdraw from the country between Port Natal and the Tugela River. The settlers, including CANE, OGLE, COLLIS and R. KING and their Africans, fled south to the Umbezaan River for fear of retaliation. They stayed about two months and then moved north to the Umzimkulu, where DINGANE sent men to say that he had no hostile intentions and to ask them to return. A few, OGLE among them, did return to the Bay, but most remained at the Umzimkulu for eight or nine more months.

R. KING, CANE, OGLE and COLLIS welcomed the Commissie Trek to Port Natal c. OCT 1834. R. KING drove GARDINER's wagon when GARDINER (q.v.) and CYRUS visited DINGANE at Kangela Kraal, from the Bay and return, 27 APR to 15 MAY 1835. KING attended the meeting, 23 JUN 1835, held at Port Natal to found the town of Durban and to plan the building of a church, and he signed the petition of the same date to Sir B. D'URBAN, asking that Natal be made a British Colony. He was wagon driver for GARDINER (q.v.) on his overland journey from Natal to Cape Colony, 23 SEP to DEC 1835.

KING perhaps served on the commando led by CANE against the Swazis at DINGANE's command, JUN-AUG 1836. See CANE.

He was a wagon driver for OWEN on his trek from the Eastern Province to Natal, APR to JUL 1837, and he was driver guide to OWEN's party on its journey from the Berea to settle at Mgungundlovu, where he signed the address to welcome RETIEF on 23 OCT 1837.

As soon as the RETIEF massacre became known at the Bay, A. BIGGAR sent KING to warn the Voortrekker encampments. KING travelled on foot for four days and nights in FEB 1838, though he arrived in time to warn and help defend only one camp, that of Gerrit MARITZ. KING served on both the settler's commandos against the Zulus, in MAR and APR 1838, and he was one of the four white survivors of the Battle of Tugela on 15 APR. He boarded Comet in the Bay to escape the Zulus, 17 to 24 APR 1838.

KING was at Port Natal in DEC 1839. He was forbidden by the Volksraad to buy lots in Durban at the sale in JUN 1840. STELLER, KING, DOUGLAS and PARKINS hunted in Zululand during OCT, NOV and DEC 1841. See DELEGORGUE.

After the defeat of Captain T. C. SMITH's force by the Voortrekkers, KING was started on his famous ride to Cape Colony to obtin help. George and Joseph CATO procured two troop horses and rowed KING to shore from Mazeppa. KING began his ride on 25 MAY 1842 with his after-rider NDONGENI; he reached Grahamstown in ten days, with eight days of actual riding. NDONGENI turned back with KING's permission when they came to the teritory of the Xhosa because he was afraid of the tribe. KING returned to Natal in Conch with troops from Port Elizabeth on 24 or 25 JUN 1842. KING was rewarded with a farm near Isipingo, where he became a pioneer sugar grower, but he was not very successful as a farmer. In 1852 he married Clara NOON; they had three sons and four daughters. He died at Isipingo on 10 NOV 1871.

KING will always be remembered in Natal for his extraordinary ride to bring relief to SMITH's beleaguered troops. He led a charmed life during the war with the Zulus in 1838. (DSAB. Hy1820, 281. GdZ, 133-4, 230, 238, 289-90, 399-402. Ow, 40, 125, 173. Fy, 230-1. AN, I, 376-8, 384-7, 603-4; II, 31. Th, II, 344-5. ByZ, 677. NaV, 175, 309. MCD, 227, 251-2, 260, 273-4, 280. Dlg, I.)


Added by Y. DROST

Dick King married Clara Jane Noon on December 22, 1852 at Isipingo, Kwazulu - Natal, South Africa.

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Richard Philip King's Timeline

November 26, 1811
Gloucestershire, England UK
February 9, 1812
Gloucestershire, England UK
Age 5
Cam, near Dursley, Gloucestershire, England
December 19, 1856
Age 45
October 22, 1858
Age 46
November 13, 1861
Age 49
March 12, 1863
Age 51
Richmond, Natal, South Africa
Age 51
Richmond, Natal, Natal, South Africa
August 20, 1865
Age 53
Isipingo Farm (owned by her father 'Dick' KING), Kwazulu Natal, South Africa